Thursday 13 December 2018

Harty targets Ascot return for fit-again Coney Island

Coney Island could make his long-awaited return to action in a graduation chase at Ascot on Saturday. Photo: Stock Image
Coney Island could make his long-awaited return to action in a graduation chase at Ascot on Saturday. Photo: Stock Image

Thomas Kelly

Coney Island could make his long-awaited return to action in a graduation chase at Ascot on Saturday.

The JP McManus-owned six-year-old was an impressive winner of the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse last season, but has not been seen in competitive action since splitting Our Duke and Disko when second at Leopardstown last Christmas.

Trainer Eddie Harty reports his stable star is in rude health ahead of an imminent comeback and while the Leopardstown Christmas Chase - formerly the Lexus - on December 28 remains under consideration, connections are contemplating a trip to England for the Sodexo Graduation Chase.

Harty said: " The Lexus has been and may still be his target, but we were discussing it recently and with the horse having been off for a year, we were wondering whether we could maybe find him something a bit more sensible.

DECISION

"This graduation chase at Ascot came up, so we said we'd give him an entry and we'll make a decision later in the week.

"He's in great form and we're very happy with him at home. I've had a look at the Ascot entries and it looks a tasty enough race, so we'll see what happens.

"The Ascot race looks an attractive starting point and we want to do the right thing by the horse. It will be great to get the ball rolling again."

Coney Island is one of 12 entries for the two-mile-five-furlong contest with Joseph O'Brien's Edwulf, not seen since he collapsed at last season's Cheltenham Festival, another possible Irish challenger.

Other contenders include Gary Moore's Benatar, Jonjo O'Neill's More Of That, the Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven and Double Shuffle from Tom George's yard.

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